Medals keep eluding Team SA

The recently concluded Athletics World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, will go down as one of the worst in history for South Africa.

Not only did team SA return with zero medals, but it only managed a single top eight placing, that being Wayde van Niekerk’s seventh spot in the men’s 400m.

Team SA has failed to win any medals in the last four major meets, dating back to the World Champs in Doha in 2019, with the recently concluded meet arguably the worst.
The last time Team SA returned with a medal from the championships was back in 2017 in London, where it managed to win six gongs.

With the Olympic Games in Paris next year fast approaching, Budapest was not a confidence-boosting experience for South Africa’s leading athletes.

Akani Simbine, who along with Van Niekerk, was a big medal hopeful for Team SA, had a horror show individually and in the 4 x 100m relay. Simbine was sent off the track after false-starting in the semifinals of the men’s 100m before being left stranded as an anchor in the final of the 4 x 100m relay.

This was after the team, made up of Simbine, Shaun Maswanganyi, Benjamin Richardson and Clarence Munyai didn’t finish the race as it dropped the baton in a changeover.
It summed up the entire games not only for Simbine but the whole Team SA who just didn’t come to the party.

The performance has put the spotlight on Athletics South Africa, with Simbine not shy to voice his displeasure with the support, or lack thereof, from the federation.

Nevertheless, Simbine, who was in top form heading into the championships throughout the season, is positive and optimistic there will be personal improvements at the Olympic in Paris.

“Tough one, but that’s the sport .So many positives to take away from this season. I’m filled with so much fire for Paris 2024. We gonna get this.”

The likes of Richardson, Munyai and Maswanganyi will also hope to make big individual improvements heading into the Olympics as they need to take over going forward. As for Van Niekerk, he will be hoping there’s still one big performance left in him with the world record holder likely to feature in his last Olympics.

The female side will still have the likes of Prudence Sekgodiso, Zeney van der Walt and Marione Fourie as South Africa’s best hopes.

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